Sussex politics lecturer makes epic journey to take stowaway mouse home

She named it ‘Larry the Lérot’

A Sussex lecturer made a 700-mile round trip to release a dormouse that spent four week hiding in her car after it became a stowaway – in France.

Politics tutor Dr Sue Collard, 60, unwittingly bought the tiny garden dormouse, a rare sight in the UK, back with her from her holiday home in Normandy.

Sue noticed the little rodent attempting to eat a pear on the front seat of her Vauxhall Meriva ten days after she got home.

She then spent the next month trying to capture the stowaway alive and started marking student’s exam papers while waiting for a home-made trap to work.


Anti-immigration? Dr Sue Collard drove the mouse all the way back to France

Sue, of Hove, East Sussex, said: “Most people thought I was crazy. They said why don’t you just put down poison but that wasn’t in my instinct.”

She added: “It was sitting at the front seat sniffing at some pears. It had been there for ten days, obviously it was very hungry.

“It was a bit of a shock but straight away I knew it was from Normandy.”

She managed to capture the cheeky male mouse in a trap made out of a shoebox stuffed with nectarines – but it escaped again.

Sue then sat in the car marking student’s exam papers for “days on end” as she waited for the mouse – nicknamed ‘Larry the Lérot’ – after the name of the species in French.


Mousetrap: Lucky rodent Larry the Lérot

She said: “I could hear it running around the car as I marked the papers but it didn’t appear.

“In the end I just got a stack of exam papers and waited for days for it to come out.”

The mouse finally ventured into a humane ‘Longworth trap’ three days later (June 4)
and she took the mouse to vets at Roger’s Wildlife Rescue in Brighton to make sure he was fit for the return journey

He was given the ‘all clear’ and Sue made the special 350 mile trip back to the French hamlet of Saint-Gervais-des-Sablons.


Sue’s huge journey to return the mouse

Sue, who has had a home in France for 25 years and is a local councillor, added: “That morning I found it in the trap I felt a this weight go off me.

“It was a huge relief. I didn’t realise the huge extent it was getting at me. It was very emotional to see it finally escape. It was brilliant.

“I’m just glad it is now back where it belongs.”

Sue was elected as a Normandy councillor in 2008 and she is also a prominent member of the Franco-British Council.

The common dormouse breeds in the UK but it is an offence to release the non-native French garden dormouse into the wild in Britain.